Why student-athletes should not be paid

Zac Grasl, Staff Intern

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In February of 2018, NBA star Carmelo Anthony stated in an interview that he believes that NCAA student-athletes should be paid. In an article written by Chris Chavez of Sports Illustrated, Anthony was quoted the following: “Yeah, they get a free education if they get a full ride scholarship but how are they surviving on those campuses? A lot of them can’t afford food. They get in trouble with the NCAA for taking $10 or $20 from a friend or family member.”

Student-athletes in the NCAA are not allowed to accept gifts or money from friends and family, but I believe that rule is very flawed. But to counter argue Anthony’s comments, there is a simple solution. These student-athletes can get jobs either on-campus or off-campus. Their seasons are not year-round. During their sports season, they don’t work and during the off-season, they work their jobs and focus on saving. They can also work during their semester and summer breaks.

As a former NCAA student-athlete at the Division III level, yes the workload was difficult, but I managed just fine. I didn’t have a job during the regular season, I had practice three to four days a week, game day on Saturdays, and I always had time to do my schoolwork. I had a few late nights doing my schoolwork, but I managed.

At times, I did wish I would get paid for doing all that I was doing, but I always reminded myself that I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for the scholarship I got from this school. That is what these student-athletes need to tell themselves too. They wouldn’t be where they are right now if it weren’t for their scholarships.

The two most popular college sports in the United States are football and basketball. Those are the only two sports in the NCAA that make the most money for the universities and the NCAA. The rest of the sports in the NCAA, such as ice hockey and baseball are televised or gaining revenue only during the Frozen Four and the College World Series.

So with the only two programs making any revenue at all, should only football and men’s basketball players be paid? How would that be fair to the rest of the student-athletes? And if every single student-athlete gets paid based off the profits and revenue made off of football and basketball, how is it fair to the football and basketball players? It is a lose-lose situation.

Here is another reason why scholarships should be enough for these student-athletes. To be eligible for a NCAA Division I scholarship, all a high school student-athlete needs is a minimum of a 2.0 cumulative GPA. So you could have a worse GPA than the smartest student in your graduating class, and you will be going to college for free while your classmate is paying over $15,000. You can say that these student-athletes are being paid by getting a free education and being debt free. Shouldn’t that be enough for these student-athletes?

With all the extra work student-athletes have, it would make sense to pay them a little bit of money. They do a lot more than regular students do. They have mandatory regular season and off-season practices and workouts, have to maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher to stay eligible on the team, some student athletes are involved with Greek Life on campus, and there is schoolwork as well. That is a lot for 18-22 year olds to handle for free. But again, they knew what they would be facing when they decided to play sports in college.

The bottom line of this debate is that yes these student-athletes have a lot more going on than the rest of the students at universities and should be rewarded, but the truth is that they have been rewarded with the scholarships they received from the universities. They are paying less money or no money at all because they were good at a particular sport.

With how high tuition is these days (between $15,000 and $35,000 a year according to the College Board), I would say that paying less than $10,000 a year is reward enough.